Lyric Lewis talks to Awards Daily about her high school days, Season 2 of NBC’s A.P. Bio, and getting to work on a “dream job.”
Lyric Lewis was your typical theater nerd in high school, but also a bit of a rebel.
“I refused to go to a class because it was not stimulating me,” says Lewis, “so I was in the black box in the theater during that hour every day.”
In addition to doing touring theater productions all four years of school, she also was a yearbook staff member. “I won ‘Best Smile’ in high school and ‘Most Likely to Win an Oscar.'”
Her theater days are paying off for her, with her role as Stef on NBC’s A.P. Bio, which is slated to come back mid-season in February 2019. The show follows a disgraced Harvard professor (Glenn Howerton) teaching Advanced Placement biology at an Ohio high school, where he meets other teachers including Lewis’s Stef, who help him assimilate into the culture.
“We start shooting again in October. I think what’s coming is that you’ll get to see the teachers in more of their natural habitat, a.k.a our homes. I think that’s definitely on the horizon, which is very exciting.”
A Comedy Dream Job
Just as there are a lot of ladies in the teachers’ lounge, including her on-screen buds Mary (Mary Sohn) and Michelle (Jean Villepique), Lewis appreciates the female power behind the scenes as well.
“We have a lot of women in the writers’ room, and the fact that there are so many of us in the cast, obviously, trailer time is also fun. It’s a good feeling to go to work and know that it’s dispersed evenly and we have some ladies in there.”
Lewis has had roles on FX’s Baskets and MADtv, and on A.P. Bio she continues to flex her comedic muscles with other comic forces.
“It’s truly the dream job. Lorne Michaels, Andrew Singer. When I first got it, I thought, ‘This is like the comedy family you want to be nestled in at NBC.’ Our creator Michael Patrick O’Brien is so fun, just the nicest guy. Everyone is just so sweet. We seriously had a ball. Patton [Oswalt] is great and just so nice to get to know, and he is so awesome and giving in scenes. Glenn [Howerton] is great, and Paula Pell is a dream come true,” Lewis sings with a laugh. “All around, it’s like a dream job, and I feel so lucky that I get to go in and be Stef.”
Lewis likes to think of Stef as the kind of teacher she would be if she didn’t go into acting (although she does teach improv!).
“If I were teaching history, this is how fun and personable I would be all the time. I would be mingling in the teachers’ lounge and only eating cubed fruit,” she says, referring to her character’s quirks.
Lewis hopes that audiences, including teachers, see the series as a different kind of interpretation of the profession.
“We have shows about teachers, but this is another representation where it’s just a funny side. I’m sure Jack Griffin [Glenn Howerton’s character] exists at every high school at every level. These teachers are rounded-out and not cookie cutter; they have outside lives, interests, and are fully-fledged/formed, fabulous people.”
Even though Jack is a miserable, vengeful human being, the teachers see something in him, maybe due to their instincts as teachers.
“Jack is a weird little brother to them. I think they secretly think he’s cool. They want him to succeed and stay and try to help out because they are truly fond of him on the inside.”
A.P. Bio returns for Season 2 on NBC in 2019. Catch up on Season 1 on Hulu.